I’m going to be focusing less on my own work on this blog and more on books that have really sung to me, especially fantasy romance/romantic fantasy. It’s not a very popular subgenre at the moment, but I love it.
This is an old review, rewritten mostly for length and because I’m trying to stay more positive when I recommend something. And I do recommend this series. The first three books, especially. Utterly Charming is the first in this series.
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Utterly Charming by Kristine Grayson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This isn’t really a romance novel. Well, it is, but it isn’t.
I mean, the focus is on the question of whether Nora and Blackstone will get together in the end. That much is clear. So, technically, it’s a romance.
To be brief, Nora, a petite and far-too-pretty-to-be-taken-seriously lawyer is hired, through a third-party, to help Alex Blackstone, a wizard with a problem. His problem is contained inside a coffin-sized box and also involves a very angry witch. Nora soon finds the rules of reality aren’t what she thought they were and has to deal with not only her disbelief in what’s happening right in front of her, but also with her growing attraction to Blackstone.
The reason I say it’s doesn’t feel like a romance is because the story itself focuses on Nora a lot in the beginning. Not very different from a number of romance novels except that most of the beginning centers on what Blackstone is hiding and how what he’s hiding feels about being hidden when the big reveal happens. There’s some snappy dialogue and intriguing bits in there involving Blackstone’s magic and his friend/assistant, but it wasn’t until I was a good ways in before I saw anything really clicking between the two main characters.
That said, I liked this story. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, it had some great scenes and some great lines, and it had enough romance to satisfy me.
For those who are curious, there are some sweet moments between Nora and Alex. I liked them. Others, however, who are looking for a bit more heat and definitely a full-fledged kiss in the first third of the book (instead of almost at the end) might be disappointed with the lack of typical key moments. The brief touches (nothing risque), awareness of each other, and emotional angst were enough for me.